Designer    Opinion 10 Jul 2017

We ask manufacturers about the aesthetic and functional features that are driving product development

They have always been an important aspect of any kitchen design, but appliances are taking an even more starring role in the process than ever before. An ever-increasingly array of functions
and a broader range of aesthetic options mean that both the choice of product and the way in which they are configured within a design are a vital aspect of any kitchen designer’s vision for their client’s home.

Steve Jones, Sirius Buying group

“Kitchen design has dramatically changed with most appliances now suiting the modern home, lifestyle and tech-savvy buying behaviour,” says Steve Jones, Commercial Director, Sirius Buying Group. “Added-value features have become fundamental to clinching the sale with the most efficient, high-performance cooking appliance coming to the fore: whether built-in or freestanding in its design.

“Competition between appliance designs remains high, especially in terms of ‘added-value’ where style, program features, lower decibels, innovative designs for increased capacity, eco-friendly attributes and wash performance continue to be top priority.”

Manufacturers have markedly become more creative when it comes to introducing cost-effective, time-saving appliances that can still compete style-wise. Jones adds that, in addition, the replacement market has been instrumental to growth across the built-in appliance market: “Premium manufacturers have noted a huge gap in the growth for freestanding and built- in cooking appliance solutions, resulting in hugely competitive design features and price points, not to mention a range of ever growing smart home appliances which have now become commonplace across the UK cooking appliance market.”

Sirius Buying Group /


Juan Pillay, Hoover Candy marketing director, built-in appliances

Juan Pillay, Marketing Director for Hoover Candy Baumatic (Built-in), believes that WiFi, in particular, is a key development in the evolving role of kitchen technology. “Consumer expectations will and should always drive innovation in the appliance sector and WiFi is the next step in
this evolution,” he says. “According to our independent Hoover Household Report 2015, 40% of consumers are interested in operating their appliances remotely via WiFi, with one in five saying they would be encouraged to do more chores if their appliance had WiFi – demonstrating the demand for intelligent appliances. The survey also revealed consumers think they could save more than an hour each week on average if they could control their appliances remotely. This segment presents huge opportunities for manufacturers and designers alike.”

Hoover Candy Baumatic /


Rhys Evans, V-ZUG UK

Of course for some sectors of the customer base, the desire may not
yet be there for the ultimate high-tech, smart-home-enabled kit. Rhys Evans, Sales Director UK & Ireland, V-ZUG UK, believes that getting to the bottom of how the client lives is the only way to achieve the right end result. “It is important that designers ascertain the lifestyle of their customers as it will give a far better understanding of what appliance is best for them. For example, if they are single and have a busy lifestyle there will be less emphasis on cooking or baking performance whereas someone who puts a priority on healthy eating should be recommended an oven that incorporates a steam cooking facility.”

“Consequently, steam has fast become a frontrunner in appliance design, manufacturing and retail, demonstrating how the world of sous-vide cooking has now ventured from the professional kitchen into the home. With it brings many resource-saving credentials and we have an exclusively innovative steam process known as Vacuisine. Designed in collaboration with top Swiss chefs, Vacuisine combines what culinary experts are calling the most spectacular innovative jump in home cooking appliances in the last 35 years by providing solutions for a modern, healthier lifestyle.”



Fiona Bowyer, Marketing Director for Franke

Fiona Bowyer, Marketing Director at Franke, agrees that user needs are king in the decision-making process, getting a grasp of the way the customer uses their kitchen space and how they plan to use their appliances.
“The choice should be based more on performance, functionality and cooking preferences rather than the need t a particular kitchen design. Gaining an understanding of the customer’s needs means that you can then design the space, the appliances, and the work ow around them.

“We have developed our Frames
by Franke range to give designers a strong proposition that enables them to sell a whole suite of products from the oven, hob and hood, to the sink, flap and accessories. On an aesthetic level, this design synergy creates the slick and professional look prized by consumers, but we also focused on delivering practical and lifestyle-enhancing benefits too with features such as our Dynamic Cooking Technology (DCT) in the multi-function ovens. This allows the oven to heat up using 20%
less time and energy, with the flexibility to cook four separate dishes in the oven simultaneously without taste or odour transfer.

“In ‘automatic’ mode, DCT also delivers failsafe cooking by automatically selecting the appropriate cooking method, heating up to the required temperature, setting the length of cooking time and the correct shelf for the dish. It’s a real bonus to be able to offer such a foolproof solution that saves the customer time and effort while allowing them to cook with confidence. It also removes a certain level of pressure, making dining and entertaining more of a pleasure, not a chore. These are real, tangible benefits that should be considered by designers.”

Fanke /


Stuart Benson, Gorenje UK

Stuart Benson, Sales Director, Gorenje UK, adds: “We have noticed a couple of developing trends in cooking appliances. Firstly, we have witnessed a success of our design lines such as Gorenje 
by Phillipe Starck and Gorenje by Ora ïto. The collaboration with esteemed designers helps provide appliances
that simplify the life of the consumer, alongside the air that designers such as Ora ïto and Starck bring.

“Secondly, we have noticed that having added control of the cooking process provides real added value. Consumers are not only looking for sleek, efficient appliances, there is also a growing demand for appliances that can assist with the control of cooking. For example, our IQ hobs possess functions that aid the user to perfectly boil, poach or steam their food.”

Some appliances capture the imagination of clients more than others of course. While the oven and hob will usually be first and foremost in mind, it is down to the designer to make sure that some of the unsung heroes of the kitchen are specified correctly to ensure they deliver the right level of performance – even if they are only working away in the background.

Gorenje UK /


Ann Onions, Sales and Marketing Manager for Westin

Ann Onions, Sales and Marketing Manager for Huddersfield-based cooker hood specialist Westin, points out: “No- one cares about cooker hoods until they don’t work, so my top tip is to take the pain out of specifying by knowing the answer to ve simple questions: What cooker are they having? What type of cooking do they do? How big a duct is required? How long a run will it need? And how many bends will it entail?” “With the answer to these, the style of hood required can be determined, along with the extraction rate of the motor. Choose the right hood for the kitchen and lifestyle, and you – as well as the client – will be happy!”

Westin /


Geoff Baker, Chairman of Air Uno

Geoff Baker, Chairman of Air Uno, adds: “People will increasingly combine their kitchen and dining areas. It’s a much more sociable way of living and this trend will continue to grow for some years.

As a result, there’s a trend for discreet integration. Homeowners blurring their living and kitchen spaces have had a direct impact on the demands for integrating appliances such as cooker hoods, so they are less obtrusive and seamlessly blend in with their environment to improve the flow of the living space, whilst retaining an effective and technologically advanced means of ventilation.

“I am hopeful that the appliance market will continue to grow during the year ahead. There is an underlying requirement for cooker hoods and they are becoming more important in the kitchen than in previous years. More and more customers understand the importance of effective extraction in their kitchen to make the space more comfortable to work in.”

Air Uno /


Luke Shipway, Caple

Braver, more adventurous cooking is also driving plenty of change in the cooking appliance market. Luke Shipway, Product Manager at Caple, says: “The trend towards recreating restaurant-style dishes in the comfort of the home continues to be popular as multi-functional ovens with programmes catering for every cooking need including pre-set cooking recipes.

“Closed door and thermostatic grilling, steam settings for healthier cooking, large interior capacities and boost options – which get the oven to the required temperature and quickly reduce pre-heating time – are all available now.”

He adds that induction hobs are big news these days with such a wide selection to cater for every need from combined induction and gas wok burner hobs to multi-split zone induction hobs: “Induction is proving so popular with its ability to speed up cooking times, it can produce healthier foods as little oil is needed and induction hobs now come with a whole host of features, which make life easier in the kitchen including pause functions and boost zones.”

Caple /


Rita Balestrazzi, Sharp Home Appliances

More adventurous home chefs are finding smart ovens enable them to take on recipes that might otherwise have been a stretch. Rita Balestrazzi, Brand Communication Manager of Sharp Home Appliances UK, says: “The next- generation of smart ovens is proving ideal for life in open-plan kitchens, where home entertaining is likely to be key. Designed with as many as 150 chef-created auto cooking programmes, such ovens are enabling cooks under pressure to rustle up every trendsetting dish from Peking duck to crème brûlée. All they have to do is select and follow a recipe via the oven’s smart app. The oven does the rest, automatically setting the perfect temperature, programme and cooking time. Keeping kitchen diners in pristine and presentable condition, such ovens are also built to offer hosts and hostesses ultra-fast cleaning help during any home entertaining occasion.”

Sharp Home Appliances /


Alex Hinton, Built-in at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances

Of course, for many designers and their clients, space – or rather, lack of it – is one of the main factors that determine appliance selections, but this need not mean a performance compromise. Alex Hinton, Head of Category for Built-in at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, says: “Compact appliances can work well for those with smaller, open plan kitchens. For those consumers who prefer the minimalist, uncluttered look, compact appliances really deliver. Smaller or multi-purpose appliances allow the consumer or kitchen designer to free up more space for storage and work surfaces.

“Consumers with smaller kitchens expect the same standard of performance from their appliances, but can’t necessarily accommodate full-sized appliances. Two-in-one or multifunction compact appliances are a brilliant solution for those with limited space. Their flexibility means that the consumer does not have to choose one appliance above the other. They can get everything they want from the appliance in terms of functionality, but in a smaller space.

“These multi-purpose products allow the consumer to expand their kitchen capabilities without over-crowding the kitchen and they also provide a more cost effective solution than multiple, individual purchases.”

Steve Dickson, Range at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances

“We recently surveyed 2,000 consumers across the UK who
had bought a range cooker to help
us identify changing customer demographics for the sector and
the results really challenged some
of the design norms. For example, you might assume the range cooker customer had a traditional country kitchen and when purchasing a
range would be replacing an existing one or more traditional freestanding product. In fact, 32% of our respondents said they were replacing built-in appliances, implying they could have an open plan or modern kitchen. In addition, our research shows under-35s now account for almost as many sales (37%) as the 35-54 age group (40%), but amongst that younger age group there was
a preference for traditionally styled range cookers. At the older end of the scale – the over-55s, an age group you would traditionally associate
with having more traditionally-styled kitchens – there was a preference
for contemporary range cookers
and kitchens.

Range cookers have long been considered aspirational purchases and the domain of those with sprawling country kitchens. In fact, just 12% of the range cooker owners we surveyed belonged to the affluent ABC1 demographic traditionally considered to be the target market for range cookers. The audience for this product has stretched considerably and we can no longer categorise consumers so easily.”

Glen Dimplex Home Appliances /